Australian woman 'shot and killed by police after she called 911 to report assault'

Major investigation into shooting launched

Justine Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, 40, had already taken the last name of the man she had plans to marry next month, Don Damond
Justine Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, 40, had already taken the last name of the man she had plans to marry next month, Don Damond

An Australian woman was shot and killed by a police officer in the US after she called 911 to report an assault near her home, family members have said.

Justine Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, 40, had already taken the last name of Don Damond, the man she had plans to marry next month.

She moved from Australia to Minneapolis to be with her fiance Don Damond and his son, 22-year-old Zach.

“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach told Australia's Star Tribune.

“I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”

The paper reports that two officers responding to her 911 call pulled into the alley near her home.

Ms Ruszczyk went to the driver's door in her pyjamas to talk to the driver and was then shot through the door. No weapon was found at the scene.

Minneapolis police called the incident an "officer-involved shooting".

“Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S just before 11.30pm Saturday,” Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement.

“At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.

“The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident.”

The officers have been placed on administrative leave while a major investigation into the shooting is conducted.

Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis, has demanded to know why the officers' body cameras were turned off.

"We all want to know more," she said. "I want to know more."

"As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night," Ms Hodges told a news conference on Sunday night.

Ms Ruszczyk, who had originally trained as a vetinarian, “has also studied and practiced yoga and meditation for over 17 years, is a qualified yoga instructor, a personal health and life coach and meditation teacher, embracing and teaching the neuro-scientific benefits of meditation," according to her website.

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